In spare moments after lunch for the past couple of months, I’ve been dipping into the humorist Alan Coren’s last book of columns. I can’t believe it’s over a year since he died, but reading these mini-masterpieces of wit, I can hear his voice, in turns mocking and exasperated, but always with tongue firmly in cheek.
Coren is at his best ranting about his favourite targets – ‘elf ‘n’ safety and bureaucracy, and this collection contains some classics. From why children no longer fall out of trees – they’re not allowed to climb them, to binge drinking and what abolishing happy hour would do to pub conversation.
There was a great column about celebs moving out of Notting Hill to Primrose Hill. This included a fabulous pun – I quote:
… Kate, the neighbourhood’s rolling Moss who, though she may not as yet have gathered any Stones, has certainly come tumbling down Primrose Hill…
But I have two real favourites. The first is entitled Rhinestones are forever, and is a hilarious cut-price Bond spoof inspired by the announcement that MI5 would be placing job ads in the papers; and the second is about Einstein’s depressed parrot. Apparently Einstein called his parrot ‘Bibo’ and was disappointed that it couldn’t learn to say its name – we’re informed that parrots can’t say the letter B. Coren’s Einstein is no Attenborough and resorts to telling it bad jokes – no wonder it was depressed!
These nuggets were gems to read, and he wrote plenty more – there’s a new anthology out for Christmas called Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren.
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Source: Own copy. To explore Amazon UK, please click below:
69 for 1 by Alan Coren, JR Books, paperback.
Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren by Alan Coren, Canongate paperback.